Bishop Ruggieri participates in St. Joseph's College graduation, experiences Mercy legacy

The Most Reverend James Ruggieri celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass at St. Joseph's College on Friday morning, May 10, one of his first events since being ordained and installed as the 13th bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland on May 7. Bishop Ruggieri also attended the nursing pinning ceremony in the afternoon and offered the Invocation and Benediction at Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 11. Bishop Ruggieri was hosted by St. Joe's new president, Joseph Cassidy, during the events held on the college's sprawling Standish campus.

"This is a beautiful occasion for us to come together, and pray for our graduates as they go forward," noted Bishop Ruggieri during Friday’s Mass. "Saint Joseph's College is a community. As you have had the chance to be a part of this community, one that has nourished you and you have nourished with your presence, I pray that the relationships you have built here will endure and carry on for the rest of your lives. The communities and friendships we find ourselves a part of, within and beyond Saint Joseph's College, can make a difference in the lives of others."

Bishop Ruggieri learned more about the founding mission of St. Joseph's College during a luncheon on Friday with several Sisters of Mercy, the congregation who began the college in 1912. The sisters were honored in a number of ways during the graduation events.

“At Saint Joseph’s kindness abounds.  I see it in our students. I see it in our staff and faculty, and I see it in the classroom, on the field of competition, and in the quiet moments around campus," said President Cassidy in his Commencement remarks. "Surely, this is the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy who founded this college, and who continue to guide us today with their presence and with their prayers. The sisters have given us a great gift, and it is our responsibility to steward and care for that legacy.  As graduates of Saint Joseph’s College, I challenge you to embrace the responsibility of carrying our shared Mercy values out into the world. I challenge you to make a difference, indeed, to make the world a better place.” 

The Commencement ceremonies began with the Claddagh Mhor Pipe Band leading the procession of the graduates, a tradition to honor the origins of the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland. As stated in the college's mission: Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy and animated by the vision of Catherine McAuley, is a Catholic college in the liberal arts tradition distinguished by its welcoming community. We foster an ongoing dialogue between faith and reason so as to prepare our learners to live meaningful lives that improve the world around them.

Close to 400 students received associate, bachelor's and master's degrees, representing eight states for Saint Joseph’s on-campus programs and 30 states plus Canada for its online programs. 

Bishop at podium
Bishop Ruggieri offers the Invocation.
Two priests at the altar
Bishop Ruggieri celebrates Baccalaureate Mass.
Bishop with a graduate and family
Bishop Ruggieri with a member of the Class of 2024 and family.
Bishop Ruggieri at Baccalaureate Mass
Bishop Ruggieri at Baccalaureate Mass